Sunday, April 10, 2016

Max: Two Years Old

Max turned two in January and it’s now April, but I can’t let this time pass without posting about what he has been up to lately. 

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Max talks constantly these days, and I guess the novelty hasn’t worn off because I could listen to him all day. He is hilarious. He loves to ask questions, “What’s this?” “How did THIS get here?” “Where is my truck?” Also, he is a toddler, so he enjoys saying what he wants, “I wanna watch BLAZE!” “I want cheese crackers!” and what he doesn’t like “I don’t like that.” He also likes saying “I’ll show ya!” I also love his expressions, he says “OooooH NO!” and “Oh BA- Goodness!” and “That’s CRAAAAAZY!"

His new thing is, he sets up all of his trucks to watch his favorite truck show (Blaze and the Monster Machines) on the iPad. Then he says, “Fire truck, this is Blaze” “Blaze, this is fire truck” like he’s introducing them. 

He also has full conversations with me about what he did at school that day, what he wants to do, people he knows, books he has read, etc. It’s crazy to think just a few months ago when I wanted to keep him awake in the car, I’d have ask what noises animals make to keep him talking. Now, we can talk about so many things. A few weeks ago we took him and my friend’s daughter to a farm to see baby pigs (and other animals). Max loved them but he kept talking about how the “Mama pig is SAD!” I told him, she’s not sad, just tired and I swear since then he’s been using the word tired when he first wakes up, ha ha. 

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Max loves to play with his toys. This winter was infinitely easier than last winter, and it wasn’t just that the weather was better (though it was!) Max was also totally fine with playing inside this winter. He loves to play with his many trucks: fire trucks, cement trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks and more. He also enjoys his train and play kitchen. Lately he likes to cook Eric and I soup and ice cream, both of which he cooks in his play microwave. He went through a phase where he would constantly leave his real milk in his play fridge. We usually found it and by some miracle when he found it, he would always say “old milk!” and give it to me. 

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He plays by himself sometimes, but he also enjoys playing with us. He enjoys having us build towers for him (especially with some cool foam blocks my mom got), then he counts them (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12…) and then he knocks them over. He also loves a game called “Seeka Boo” that one of Eric’s friends got for him for his birthday. It’s similar to memory but a little bit simplified. 

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I’ve probably said this in every post since like 6 months, but Max still LOVES books. He has a ton of books memorized and can read them on his own, but he mostly likes when we read them and leave out words that he can fill in. His current favorite books are: Pete the Cat, The Truck is Stuck, It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny, Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? Curious George books and all the Llama Llama books… he also loves a book about a fire station that we got at a random bookstore in Portsmouth NH. Winn 160218 3198Winn 160214 2953

It’s funny to read back to some of his month updates because I mentioned more than once that he would eat anything. That is definitely no longer. He favorite things to eat are “MILK AND BAR!” Bar, being those Trader Joe’s “fruit” bars. He will occasionally eat what we are having for dinner if all veggies can be picked out, that is. Otherwise, he mostly like snack type foods: cheddar bunnies, graham crackers, nuts, etc. Fortunately, he will eat both peanut butter and sunflower butter (for school because they can’t have nuts) sandwiches so he eats those a lot. I’ve calmed down a lot about his absurd eating, and realized that if that’s the only negative thing I ever hear from school “he didn’t really eat any of his lunch today”- that’s not so bad! 

Fortunately, his sleep is better than his eating these days. He went through a very rough sleep patch around November/December. He learned how to climb out of his crib, I’m not sure how. But the first time, he climbed out, grabbed a book, knocked on our door at 3AM and said, “READ IT!” Once that child is up, getting him back to sleep is near impossible. Luckily, after a few week freak out and terrible sleep, I ignored all the advice about keeping kids in the crib as long as possible and listened to my best friend who told me take off the side of the crib and put a gate up. Yes, re-sleep training on Christmas Eve was not fun, but it has led to much better sleep ever since. Honorable mention goes to the amazing toddler sleep clock. Max is very serious about sleeping when the light is red and “WAKE UP!” when the light is green. 

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Max continues to go to “school” while we are at work. He loves it and does really well there. His favorite activities are listening to books and playing with all the many cars and trucks that the school has. Max also really likes painting which they do a lot. He loves to say, “I paint it!!!” They tell me after the summer he will officially be in “preschool” (still in the same school, just a different classroom). I can’t believe it! 

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He still changes so much every day, so I hope I can remember to update before he’s 3 this time, ha ha!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 in Review

Happy 2016 friends! I didn’t blog much in 2015, but here is what I was up to instead: 

January

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Rang in the New Year in Florida. Celebrated Max’s first birthday! Attempted but failed at a Mile a Day challenge. Got sick a lot. Tried to study for a work related test by waking up early but ultimately had my mother in law watch Max and crammed as much as I could. 

February

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Took the work test and I passed, wahoo! Super fun trip to Savannah Georgia! Had one million snow days. Went a little bit crazy. 

March

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Visited the Cape with our BFF family. Celebrated 10 years of togetherness (Eric and I) in Portland, Maine. Tried to pretend the snow was gone. Somewhere around this month (maybe it was February? Or April?) I started working out with Eric 2x per week and kept it up all year, wahoo!

April

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Returned the park. Spent a lot of time at all parks. Stopped nursing Max after 15 months! Watched my sister and college roommate run the marathon! Spent April vacation at the Cape. Met Baby Katherine my best friend’s second baby. Max learned how to give hugs. 

May


Ate dinner at Flatbread with friends and 3 kids. Took the train to Boston Common. Visited Uncle Jake’s apartment in Boston. Celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday!

June

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Celebrated Eric’s grandmother’s 90th birthday! Celebrated my 31st birthday. Saw Tim McGraw in concert. Eric and I traveled to Washington and Oregon, and Max stayed at the Cape for the week. Met long time blog/teacher friend in Portland. 

July

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Walked to the jetty almost nightly. Went to Max’s first outdoor concert with friends. Rode on merry go rounds. Celebrated my mom’s birthday at a beach bar. Visited the zoo. Rode on a boat or two. 

August

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Soaked up time together. Had lots of play dates. Walked on the beach. Bought my own paddle board. Tried to avoid the August breakdown. 

September

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Max started school! Danced at another wedding. Took lots of walks. Disliked the beginning of the year with K kids. Looked forward to December vacation...

October

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Went to Maine for a family trip. Celebrated a college friend’s bachelorette party! Tailgated the BC football game. Visited the real llama at the farm. Saw Lisa!

November

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Threw a surprise party for my mother in law. Served Max mac and cheese for Thanksgiving dinner. Max had multiple ear infections among other sicknesses. Max climbed out of the crib at 3am and knocked on our bedroom door. 

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Got a 5 day fever. Read a lot of books. Took Max to visit Elmo and Santa. Attended a wedding at Boston Public Library. Santa came! Took the side off Max’s crib. Enjoyed vacation at the Cape. 

To sum up: A tiny bit easier and a lot less eventful than last year. Lots of wine and beer. Way too much sickness. A lovely family and wonderful friends. Very grateful. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Kelly's 2015 Book Recommendations

*Sorry for the hiatus. It was part technical difficulties and part lack of time. I’ll be back at least once more this week to do a Max update. After that, who can really be sure :) 

I haven’t been able to totally interest myself in book podcasts, but I do love the book recommendation ones so this year I’m going to try to do my own book recommendations. Of course I don’t have people writing to me asking what I would recommend for so and so, but we can pretend. These are based on books I read in 2015 only. Lots of good ones to choose from!

Sorry in advance for the weird sizing of the books. 

If you are in the mood for something different...

Books2015and Hyperbole2

A story told through poetry and a comic series, these two have nothing in common with each other and are unlike the books that most people I know read. Despite how different they are, and maybe because they are so different, I recommend both of them. 

If you want to read nonfiction that reads like fiction...

Books2015 7

Eric reads nonfiction before bed because it won’t suck him in and keep him awake. But this one will. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

If you like to read...

Books2015 11

Seriously, this book is for everyone. I don’t know anyone who didn’t like it. It’s got comedy, adventure, science and so much more. Some parts do get a bit technical, but I promise it won’t ruin the story if you just skim those. 

If you love historical fiction...

Books2015 6

Which I think is everyone I know who reads. Ha. 

If you want a young adult book with a unique love story and a taste of the immigrant experience...

Books2015 9

You’ll never learn what it’s like to be an immigrant from a book, but this will give you a glimpse. It will also invite you into a young love story that differs from the typical one quite a bit. I read this book in about two days while sick, so I think it’s a quick but really good read. 

If you have ever dreamed about living on a summer island in the offseason, or enjoy stories about people starting over...

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While Still Alice is my favorite Lisa Genova book, I learned to love some of her other books this year. I’d definitely recommend this one along with Inside the O’Briens.

If you like psychological thrillers/ being kind of freaked out.

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I feel like these type of books are in right now… Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, etc. These two were both good but less popular. 

If you are planning a trip to Savannah...

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I know, you probably aren’t, but you should. It’s a beautiful, small southern city. They have amazing food, tons of history and things to do, and most importantly you can order a drink at a bar and take it out on the street to enjoy their beautiful warm weather. While you are there, read this amazing book and then have fun walking by all the places you are reading about. 

If you want a quick-read, page-turner...

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This book was recommended to me by a friend at work and I got it for free on my Kindle. The perfect book for reading in one weekend or on a plane ride. 

Let me know if you try any of these books and leave me a recommendation in the comments!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Max: 18 Months

It's hard to imagine that when I last wrote about Max, I was discussing snow!!! Summer has been the best thing ever in Max land. Water, water everywhere! The boss baby turned 18 months on July 17th, so he is officially over halfway to 2! 

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 Max at 18 months is a child who just loves life. That's the only way to describe it. There are so many things and people that he loves and if he sees anything he loves, his arms start flapping and the excitement begins following by running (often on his tip toes) towards what he loves. Let's see if I can list all of the things Max loves: slides, swings, sprinklers, water (lakes, oceans etc), ice cream, cookies, books, bees, dogs, lights, parks, trucks especially fire trucks, other kids, merry go rounds, adventures… I'm probably forgetting something here!

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Max loves to point to things so he can be often found walking around just pointing to everything he likes and wants. However, he is starting to say more and more words every day. For awhile now he's been saying Mama, Dada (or Daddy), Nonna, Pops, Nana, doggie, bees, bye bye and for awhile he was saying light but I haven't heard that word lately. His recent words include dinnah (dinner), book, milk, more, again, pool, dunk (as in slam dunk haha) door, and no. I was hoping we could avoid the word no for awhile, but he has invented a sign language he uses for no (kind of similar to all done) and he uses that while also saying no, so he definitely gets what it means.  If you ask him to say something he will always say "bye bye" and look at you with a devilish smile that clearly says "you can't make me." But, he is also very agreeable. If you ask him if he wants to do something, like "do you want to go to the park?" "do you want to brush your teeth?" he will almost always say "Yaya!" 

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I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but Max absolutely loves books. He picks up several books a day and demands someone read them to him. If he is upset about something or wants to do something he shouldn't, I can often distract him with a book. He used to be very picky about his books and would only want to read 1 or 2 books for weeks at a time. Now he is still opinionated about his books, but he likes a very wide variety of books, many that involve trucks and fire engines. We have been taking Max to the library at the Cape this summer and he loves to play with all the toys. But, he also loves looking at the books and took out 3 books of his own for the first time! One was about fire engines, one about sheep and one was a word book. Speaking of word books, he loves them too. He turns to a page and we say, "where is the giraffe?" and he points to it. 

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He was so excited to see a gorilla at the zoo because one of his favorite books is "Goodnight Gorilla." Luckily, this one did not get out of his cage! 

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Of course, even the most adorable and amazing kids (not biased at all) cannot be perfect all the time. Max has his share of toddler tantrums which are infinitely worse if he is tired or bored. I had a rookie mom move at the aforementioned library visit where I let him play and read for over an hour and THEN decided to fill out the forms to get myself a library book. Max started banging on a mirror thing right near the desk and when I pulled him away he completely flipped out. First major public tantrum in a quiet library? Well, of course. Luckily this is where being a kindergarten teacher is helpful because while it was a little bit stressful trying to actually remember my own address filling out the forms, I was mostly just like, toddlers will be toddlers. Tantrums at home are usually about not being allowed to do something he wants to do, like go out a door or get his "doggie" when it's not bedtime etc. The other day he had his first official "time out" because he would not stop throwing his trucks off my mom's nice wooden table onto her nice wood floor. He definitely does not get the concept of a "time out" yet so I basically just took him to another part of the room and made him sit on his lap for 1 minute. It also didn't work because he went right back to truck throwing after, so now the trucks are taking LONG time out in the closet. At this stage, distraction/redirection seems to be my best discipline method so that's usually the way I go whenever possible. 

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Another thing that really grinds my gears is toddler eating. Don't get me wrong, I love eating but I wish both I and my child did not HAVE to eat, we just could if we wanted to. So much time is wasted thinking of meal ideas, buying food, cooking said food, cleaning up after eating, blah blah. Feeding a picky toddler is a new level of annoying. One day he likes something, the next day he doesn't, each day he seems to like less and less. He doesn't like a single fruit or veggie unless it's in pureed form and randomly will hate other random things. When he doesn't want it he will basically scream GET THIS OFF MY PLATE without saying those words and instead whines with the food held out in front of him like it's very presence on his tray make actually kill him. Even when he is happy with what he is eating, there is still a TON of whining at meal times. The only foods he will consistently eat are chips, cookies, yogurt and purees. He also likes blueberry bars from Trader Joe's (kind of like fruit), waffles with peanut butter, bagels with cream cheese, cheese and crackers, inner peas, bread, and rice. Occasionally he almost seems like a good eater and will eat our turkey pasta or a thai chili dish that Eric makes. I suppose I can't really complain but I'm telling you, 3 meals a day + 2 snacks a day of whining and flailing around really make me wish eating was not necessary haha. 

 

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It's so clear to me every day just how much I am not a baby mom. Of course I LOVED Max as a baby, but I enjoy this time so much more. All of that "oh, just wait until he is walking, then it will get hard!" comments people love to make have not yet proven to be true for me. I love him walking around and communicating and enjoying all of our crazy adventures. I love the laughing as he runs through the sprinkler, the building a tower from blocks, the stepping on sand castles, the conversations about what different animals say, the actual playing with other kids. Yup, I'm saying it again, this is my new favorite age. I suppose at some point it will not be my favorite age, the question is, will that be during the terrible twos or the teenager years? Ha ha.  

I was planning to get into motherhood at 18 month in this post, but I think this is long enough. Maybe that will be it's own post :) Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Friday!

Thanks everyone for reading all my trip recap posts! I'm glad no one from Portland got TOO angry about my less than stellar review! I definitely admit that 4 days in any place is not long enough to make a definite opinion about it, so perhaps I'll be back again and stay more outside the city next time. I also really want to get down to the Crater Lake area of Oregon as well. So much to do and so little time. 

I was going to do a TGIF post, but let's be honest- I'm not thankful it's Friday as my life is a weekend right now and every Friday that occurs is one day closer to another class of kindergarten kids who act like preschoolers, le sigh!

So, let's call this a Happy Friday post instead...

The high of my week was… so many things. We took Max to the zoo, where he loved seeing the gorillas! My friends Cristina and Katie visited with Max's little buds. We took a boat ride. Eric and I had a dinner by ourselves. Plus any time I do an open water swim at Walden, that is a highlight. Too many things to choose from! 

The low of my week was… If last Saturday counts as part of my week, then Max waking up at 8:30PM screaming bloody murder was definitely the low. He never wakes up then (I was wondering if he was ever asleep?) so we went in to try to calm him down. I think maybe he had a night terror. I would've let him fall asleep on me, but he kept waking up and screaming so we eventually just had to let him calm himself by falling asleep. We felt terrible though. 

A book I am reading is… The Snow Child. I think I mentioned this book before because I've been reading it for awhile. I like it, but apparently not enough to actually READ! 

For my workouts I completed…a 1/2 mile open water swim Sunday, a 2 mile run on Monday, a lift on Wednesday and hopefully a run today. I signed up for my first sprint triathlon in 2 years (last one I did was when I was pregnant with Max but didn't know it, did not feel great for that!) on this past weekend. The tri is September 13th. I've been working out regularly for awhile now, but not necessarily tri training. To be honest, I don't plan to do much formal training but I will make sure I bike at least once before the race, ha ha. 

The best money I spent was… a yummy dinner out at a French restaurant and cupcakes for dessert! 

My plans this weekend include… my aunt, uncle and cousins are coming to visit and we have a baptism on Sunday, so it should be a fun weekend. I am going to try to pretend August 1st isn't coming and that I don't have to go into work early on Monday morning, ha ha. 

What are your plans for the weekend? 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oregon: Part 2

On our second full day in Portland, we again headed out of the city… this time, WEST! 

Less than two hours later, hello Cannon Beach. 

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Cannon Beach is one of the small coastal towns along the Oregon Coast. It's filled with cute shops and restaurants and less than a block away is this beautiful beach with the famous Haystack Rock. 

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The coast was nice and cool and we didn't hate the break from the crazy heat. We took a nice long walk along tho beach and then ate lunch in the town. We had planned to go down the coast a little more but the traffic was too crazy so we just enjoyed as much as we could of Cannon Beach and then headed back to Portland. 

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When we arrived back in the city, we decided to try the #1 rated restaurant on Tripadvisor, because why not? It was a Peruvian restaurant and neither of us have ever had Peruvian food, but we are now both obsessed. There is no possible way I can do this restaurant justice, it was that good. It was called Andina. The drinks were delicious and the food was even better. The only disappointing thing is that this restaurant is not closer to us in every day life!IMG 4342

The next morning we returned our rental car and set off to explore Portland.

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Our first stop was the Chinese Garden, which was a really cool place to relax in the heart of the city. 

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We ordered some tea in the tea house and planned the rest of our day. Next, we walked down by the river and then back up to our hotel area to check out all the food trucks. IMG 3539

Eric and I both really like the idea of food trucks, but other than our cool food truck festival experience a few years ago, our only other experience was a not so great one in Vancouver (probably just a fluke) so we were a little hesitant. However, I had the MOST DELICIOUS possible food truck meal ever in Portland. Yes, I have the authority to say this with my very limited actual food truck experience. The food truck was called Nong's Khao Man Gai and they serve chicken and rice bowls, though it's really more of paper than a bowl but really, so good. 

In the afternoon, we took the train (called THE MAX) across the river to Widmer Brewery. We 

sat at the bar and Eric ordered a flight to try and I got my beloved Widmer Hefe. 

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Our last stop in Portland was Portland City Grill, a delicious restaurant on the 30th floor with a great view. 

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My overall thoughts on Portland as a city remain mixed. I have always been a city person, but the last few years I feel like I have started to enjoy being out of the city more and more. There are some cities in the world I could visit 100 times and never feel satisfied: Sydney, Washington DC, Rome, London (to name a few)… and then there are cities that I don't hate, but I just don't feel a burning need to return to (Munich and Athens are two of these cities). I think Portland joins the latter group. The food was good, and the day trip possibilities unbeatable, but I guess next time I would probably stay outside of the city . The downtown area was not particularly pretty or walkable, both things I value in a city. I have heard that Portland is a great city to live in, and I can believe that. They have great food, healthy living and I swear there was always live music outside somewhere! I just feel like for visiting, if I have to drive everywhere, I might as well be outside the city.

That being said, I'm definitely not done with the state of Oregon. I only saw a small part of the beauty this state has to offer, so I will be back. 

What are your favorite cities? Are there any cities you liked okay but don't feel a burning need to revisit? Or any cities you don't like at all?